About the show

Guy Massaux – Works 2001-2011 (Part Two)

The works presented at the Secci Gallery in Florence span from 2001 to 2011. They follow works exhibited in a “first” retrospective (1987-1999) at the Il Ponte Gallery in Florence.

Guy Massaux dedicated his main activity to teaching drawing, painting, and the art of public space at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels from 1983 to 2023. At intervals, he practiced painting and drawing as a “stateless” artist. Although living in Brussels, he regularly traveled to Italy to produce the majority of his works. He gradually took up residence in Volterra, known at the time as “my transalpine landmark” or “my Refuge,” to distance himself from the “noise of the art world”, to which he never claimed to belong, despite the presence of his works in prestigious collections and well-known Belgian galleries from the 1990s to the 2000s.

Initially falling within the orbit of Daniel Buren and Michel Parmentier (whose archive he directs), the work eludes classifications. Including paintings, drawings collages, and large canvases, Massaux’strue interest lies in pictorial experimentation.

2001-2003

The research conducted at the beginning of 2001 led to a reconsideration of the previous objectives of his artistic journey, with a progressive deviation towards experiments that suggested i a disarticulation of the constituents of painting/drawing, more specifically in their connection with collage (paper, torn paintings and then (re) glued), in a return to the original and antihistorical principles of painting (gestures, materials, collage, forms) emancipated from the stylistic classifications in which painting has been maintained and fixed by the history of art (even today). From then on, the work was no longer be assimilated to a specific identity of genre, form, material, movement, or discourse, thus returning to the foundations of drawing/painting/sculpture, to the constancy and resurgence of interrogation, of Ut pictura poësis, according to the extreme demands of making and its consequences for thought, ethics, and politics. The paintings in the first part of the exhibition, known as “quadretti” (small paintings), are the surfaces/receptacles of a division of movements; bare canvases, used or recycled paper, elastic substrates, all stripped of any objective, enclosure, or border of painting, including frames.

2004-2008

In a second phase, the recurrence and repetition of the “figures” (knots, folds, cuts, various markings, collaged papers, writings, colors, typographies, etc.) are no longer manifest in the mode of stylistic identification but are intrinsically linked (OTTO CROSS-OVER INTERNO, etc.). They thwart, compromise, and contradict any attempt at grasping the unity of form and content of the work and history in a single gaze. The work/subject opposes any “object” or substitutive installation; it is antithetical and antinomic to it, its blind counterpoint. The work is a consequence, an unexpected event, questioned by its very constituents, n either theoretical nor philosophical but stemming from a critical practice.

2009-2011

The organicity of the “large” drawings assembled in multiple sheets reintroduces representation and perspective, where they are associated with “words”, onomatopoeias, slogans, evocations, and denunciations of contemporary (POST-MODERNO) enunciations of appearances, accompanied by sound effects. The lexical field produces on one side a word as the extension (consequence) of an action it accompanies (SLING), and on the other, the same word (LUCE) multiplied produces its own extensional space. (ARLECCHINO D’ORO) causes disorder, a cabinet of curiosity, assembled in a symmetrical figure initially composed of several merged, confused stencils, fortuitously displaying the memento mori of the jester. In (DEATH), a diamond-shaped grid associated with color is overlaid on the print, while adjusted and patched diamonds from Arlecchino’s costume, a kaleidoscopic figure, emblem, and parable of painting, emerge. Amidst the diversity of previously addressed subjects, specific works intersperse the homogeneity of pictorial  investigations.

From 2012 onwards, Guy Massaux dedicated the majority of his creative efforts to video art. He is the author and director of several short films, including “Il Rifugio” (2015), “La Selva oscura” (2018), and “B. o Vita nuova” (2022), all produced in the Italian language.

Since 1987, he  worked and set up his studio in a pavilion of the former psychiatric hospital, which he occupied until 2011.These works, which emerge from the late 2000s, follow the period of 1987-1999, whose approach was animated and assimilable to a minimalism informed by conceptualism and the contextualization of painting in specific locations.

Guy Massaux – Works 2001-2011 (Part Two)

The works presented at the Secci Gallery in Florence span from 2001 to 2011. They follow works exhibited in a “first” retrospective (1987-1999) at the Il Ponte Gallery in Florence.

Guy Massaux dedicated his main activity to teaching drawing, painting, and the art of public space at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels from 1983 to 2023. At intervals, he practiced painting and drawing as a “stateless” artist. Although living in Brussels, he regularly traveled to Italy to produce the majority of his works. He gradually took up residence in Volterra, known at the time as “my transalpine landmark” or “my Refuge,” to distance himself from the “noise of the art world”, to which he never claimed to belong, despite the presence of his works in prestigious collections and well-known Belgian galleries from the 1990s to the 2000s.

Initially falling within the orbit of Daniel Buren and Michel Parmentier (whose archive he directs), the work eludes classifications. Including paintings, drawings collages, and large canvases, Massaux’strue interest lies in pictorial experimentation.

2001-2003

The research conducted at the beginning of 2001 led to a reconsideration of the previous objectives of his artistic journey, with a progressive deviation towards experiments that suggested i a disarticulation of the constituents of painting/drawing, more specifically in their connection with collage (paper, torn paintings and then (re) glued), in a return to the original and antihistorical principles of painting (gestures, materials, collage, forms) emancipated from the stylistic classifications in which painting has been maintained and fixed by the history of art (even today). From then on, the work was no longer be assimilated to a specific identity of genre, form, material, movement, or discourse, thus returning to the foundations of drawing/painting/sculpture, to the constancy and resurgence of interrogation, of Ut pictura poësis, according to the extreme demands of making and its consequences for thought, ethics, and politics. The paintings in the first part of the exhibition, known as “quadretti” (small paintings), are the surfaces/receptacles of a division of movements; bare canvases, used or recycled paper, elastic substrates, all stripped of any objective, enclosure, or border of painting, including frames.

2004-2008

In a second phase, the recurrence and repetition of the “figures” (knots, folds, cuts, various markings, collaged papers, writings, colors, typographies, etc.) are no longer manifest in the mode of stylistic identification but are intrinsically linked (OTTO CROSS-OVER INTERNO, etc.). They thwart, compromise, and contradict any attempt at grasping the unity of form and content of the work and history in a single gaze. The work/subject opposes any “object” or substitutive installation; it is antithetical and antinomic to it, its blind counterpoint. The work is a consequence, an unexpected event, questioned by its very constituents, n either theoretical nor philosophical but stemming from a critical practice.

2009-2011

The organicity of the “large” drawings assembled in multiple sheets reintroduces representation and perspective, where they are associated with “words”, onomatopoeias, slogans, evocations, and denunciations of contemporary (POST-MODERNO) enunciations of appearances, accompanied by sound effects. The lexical field produces on one side a word as the extension (consequence) of an action it accompanies (SLING), and on the other, the same word (LUCE) multiplied produces its own extensional space. (ARLECCHINO D’ORO) causes disorder, a cabinet of curiosity, assembled in a symmetrical figure initially composed of several merged, confused stencils, fortuitously displaying the memento mori of the jester. In (DEATH), a diamond-shaped grid associated with color is overlaid on the print, while adjusted and patched diamonds from Arlecchino’s costume, a kaleidoscopic figure, emblem, and parable of painting, emerge. Amidst the diversity of previously addressed subjects, specific works intersperse the homogeneity of pictorial  investigations.

From 2012 onwards, Guy Massaux dedicated the majority of his creative efforts to video art. He is the author and director of several short films, including “Il Rifugio” (2015), “La Selva oscura” (2018), and “B. o Vita nuova” (2022), all produced in the Italian language.

Since 1987, he  worked and set up his studio in a pavilion of the former psychiatric hospital, which he occupied until 2011.These works, which emerge from the late 2000s, follow the period of 1987-1999, whose approach was animated and assimilable to a minimalism informed by conceptualism and the contextualization of painting in specific locations.

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